Five Things You Didn’t Know About Leonardo DiCaprio

By Tara Fowler

This weekend, Fergie will finally learn the ending to “The Great Gatsby” when Baz Luhrmann’s adaptation of the famed F. Scott Fitzgerald novel hits theaters, because contrary to the title of her song on the soundtrack, a little partying can kill somebody…or somebodies. While we don’t know much about the mysterious Gatsby at the beginning of the film, there’s plenty out there on Leonardo DiCaprio.

Here are five facts about the dreamy (ha, “Inception” pun!) actor that you might not have known.

1) DiCaprio first moved out of his mom’s house a month before “Titanic” was released: He was 23 at the time. As a kid, DiCaprio lived at the corner of Hollywood and Western— a “drug dealer and prostitute corner,” as he has called it. “I got beat up a lot,” the actor has admitted. “I saw people having sex in the alleys. I remember I was five years-old and this guy with a trenchcoat, needles and crack cornered me. Early on, seeing the devastation on my block, seeing heroin addicts, made me think twice about ever getting involved in drugs.”

2) People may think he’s a looker (to put it lightly), but his “Titanic” co-star Kate Winslet begs to differ: “He’s probably the world’s most beautiful-looking man, yet he doesn’t think that he’s gorgeous,” Winslet told Vanity Fair in 1998. “And to me, he’s just smelly, farty Leo.” As for DiCaprio himself, well he’s not a fan of his “hottie” status either. “Being dubbed as a hunk sort of annoys me,” he said. “It gives me a yucky feeling.”

3) He was named for Leonado da Vinci: Which seems obvious, but actually has a cute story behind it. DiCaprio was named after da Vinci when his mother felt him kick while standing in front of a painting of the artist. “My dad [Italian comic book artist George DiCaprio], being the man that picks up on cosmic messages, said that ’His name must be Leonardo,'” DiCaprio revealed.

4) He’s got a sense of humor: As proven by this incident with a lady while in line. (Side note: beware of making fun of Leo DiCaprio when buying groceries.) “I was behind a woman at the checkout counter who was looking at the magazines,” he said. She turned to me and goes, ’There he is again, that Leonardo DiCaprio. Don’t you wish he’d just disappear?’ I said (to myself), this is the moment where I either go, ’Do you know who I am?’ or put my hat further down, pay for my corn-nuts and get out of there… I choose to avoid that.”

5) At the tender age of 10, he was told to change his name to Lenny Williams: An agent refused to sign him unless he made the change. “They felt it was too ethic,” DiCaprio explained. Thankfully, he refused. Can you imagine a world in which Titanic starred Lenny Williams? Shudder.

Will you check out The Great Gatsby this weekend?